1984 March Can Am 847SOLD

COYS Nürburgring Auction - Saturday 11th August 2007

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Estimate: €58,000-65,000

Sold: €55,000

March Engineering began operations in 1969. Its four founders were Max Mosley, Alan Rees, Graham Coaker and Robin Herd. They each had a specific area of expertise: Mosley looked after the commercial side, Herd was the designer, Rees managed the racing team and Coaker oversaw production at the factory. Their audacious aim was to build a complete range of racing cars from scratch, including a Formula One machine. The history, however, of March would be dominated by the conflict between the need for constant development and testing to remain at the peak of competitiveness in Formula One, and the need to build simple, reliable cars for customers to make a profit.

The company first built a Formula Three car in 1969, and then went into F1 in 1970, supplying its Ford Cosworth DFV-powered 701 chassis to Tyrrell for Jackie Stewart. In addition, the factory ran two team cars for Jo Siffert and Chris Amon sponsored by STP. A third car, entered by Andy Granatelli for Mario Andretti, appeared on several occasions. Ronnie Peterson appeared in a semi-works car for Colin Crabbe when his Formula Two commitments allowed; various other 701s went to privateers. The team constructed ten chassis that year, in addition to F2, F3, Formula Ford and Can-Am chassis.

Its first foray into the latter series for Group 7 sports-racing cars was with the 7.6 and 8.1 litre Chevrolet powered 707 in 1970 and other models followed but by then the series was in decline and it died its first death in 1974. Resurrected three years later CanAm enjoyed a new era with a significant change in the regulations allowing single seater machines with a maximum engine capacity of five litres, many of these being re-bodied F5000 cars. It was a formula that attracted many great drivers, including Jacky Ickx, Alan Jones and Patrick Tambay.

For the 1984 season, March produced the 847 using the aluminium honeycomb monocoque of its 82C Indy car. This featured the replacement of the Indy fuel tank with that of a March Formula One car, enabling the engine to be mounted further towards the centre of the car, a conversion carried out by RK Racing in America. In-board rocker suspension was employed all round, at the rear again the work of RK, and a small block, 5,000 cc Chevrolet V8, producing 530bhp at 8,500rpm, mated to a five speed Hewland DGZ transaxle. Clothing it all was a striking fibreglass body with a distinctive single plane front wing and ground effect, carbon fibre undertray.

Three examples of the car, dubbed RK 847, were built, two for Don Walker Racing and one for RK Racing to field for Jim Crawford. In the ex-Lotus F1 driver's hands the model proved to be a potent force: three victories and six second places followed with Crawford finishing second overall in the series, missing out on the title to the VDS-Chevrolet of Michael Rowe by just a handful of points. Alas, CanAm was then to go again into decline and it died a final death in 1986. Chassis 847-01 remained in America, 847-03 was written off in an accident and 847-02, Crawford's car, returned to Britain. There it received slant nose, all-enveloping bodywork to allow in it to run in the Thundersports series, driven by Richard Piper and Tiff Needell.

Chassis 847-02, which was used by Crawford for every one of his first and second places in the 1987 CanAm Challenge Cup, has in recent years been in a private Belgian collection. Resplendent in blue, red and white Texas Homecare livery, this extremely potent March, one of just two remaining RK 847s of three produced and with an excellent race history, is offered in good condition. Demand for such rare CanAm machines is on the increase and this exciting machine, with its undoubted provenance, is one for the serious collector.

Reference Number 11789

as of 7/28/2007

Car 1984 March Can Am 847
VIN 847-02